Supporting the care sector and promoting employment opportunities for care leavers
The Care Tech Foundation is supporting Skills for Care to run pilot projects that explore different ways of supporting people from traditionally under-represented groups into training or employment in adult social care. The Foundation’s support will be specifically around supporting young care leavers and/or those from looked after backgrounds and young people with learning disabilities. Some of Skills for Care’s other funded projects might include support for other under-represented groups such as people who are long-term unemployed, have physical disabilities or long-term health conditions and ex-offenders.
Skills for Care is a trusted independent charity with over 18 years’ experience in workforce development. Skills for Care is a delivery partner for the Department of Health and Social Care and its mission is to create a well-led, skilled and valued adult social care workforce. Their work is focused around three key areas – recruit, develop and lead – and they support the care sector to face growing challenges with recruitment, retention and skills shortages.
The latest State of the Adult Social Care Sector report (September 2017), suggests that the number of adult social care jobs has increased by 19% since 2009. It predicts that this will continue to grow and that the sector could need up to 700,000 new jobs by 2030. This growing demand for care workers is coupled with challenges in staff recruitment. The report suggests that the turnover rate in the sector in 2016 was 27.8% – this equates to approximately 350,000 leavers over the year. This shows a steady increase from 2012-13 by 4.7%. A large proportion of this staff turnover is a result of people leaving the sector soon after joining – contributing to a 34.1% starter rate. The Office for National Statistics also suggest that 15% of all externally advertised job vacancies in the UK are in social care and health – this equates to some 117,000 vacancies.
“If we want to fill the 90,000 vacancies adult social care has every day we have to work harder and smarter to reach more potential recruits from traditionally under-represented groups.
That’s why I’m delighted to welcome the Care Tech Foundation’s support for our work to reach those people with the right values who are furthest from the jobs market. This generous commitment can only help the social care and health sector find great talent in new places and create a workforce which is diverse, inclusive and represents the communities they serve.” – Sharon Allen OBE, Skills for Care CEO
With increasing demand and competition for care workers, adult social care employers need to explore new and innovative ways of widening their pool of potential employees. Skills for Care makes the case that recruitment should be about talent, and not background. Some people face barriers to moving into work, and not everyone has recent experience or qualifications to support them – but many of these people might have the right values to work in adult social care.
Taking a values-based approach to recruitment can help employers explore new talent pools. It involves assessing a candidate’s values in the recruitment process to ensure they align with the workplace values of the employer. This differs from traditional approaches which might focus on qualifications and experience. Part of this approach could involve targeting people who are currently under-represented in the workforce, but who might have the right values to work in the sector. Although this could require additional support to help people become ‘work ready’, lots of employers have benefited from investing in candidates at the beginning and saving recruitment costs further down the line.
Skills for Care has supported five projects with specialist employment services that explore different ways of doing this. They’ve included supporting people with a background of homelessness, care leavers, young people and ex-offenders into training and employment in adult social care. These pilots align closely with the Government’s ‘See Potential’ campaign which is championed by Sir Richard Branson, Deborah Meaden and Simon Cowell. This campaign aims to help businesses meet skills shortages and diversify their workforce by removing barriers to employment for people with disadvantaged backgrounds.
The Foundation will match-fund money to Skills for Care, as part of their programme of work that’s funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. This will increase the reach of their current projects which support people who are under-represented in the workforce, into training or employment. The Foundation has a particular interest in supporting pre-employment support for young care leavers and/or those from ‘looked after’ backgrounds and young people with learning disabilities.
As part of this partnership, Skills for Care will work with staff across CareTech plc to ensure that the company can play a leading role in supporting young people – particularly those who are under-represented in the workforce – to secure training or employment in the adult social care sector.